Fiction Speculative

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

I am a cloud. I was not always a cloud, but now that is what I am. I was born a little girl and was given my grandmother’s name. I still find it funny that my name was not even my own. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because I don’t go by anything now and soon it will slip my mind.  

My life is a peaceful one. I linger above in the great blue and I see the whole world. In the summertime, I would go cloud gazing with my brother on lemonade filled days but now I go people gazing. It’s more boring than I thought because nobody ever seems to pay me any attention as I did the clouds, but sometimes I assume a funny shape or get lucky enough to hang low enough in the sunset or manage to sneak some of the rainbow’s fame by passing right next to it. I don’t have a say in it anyway so it’s always keeping me on my toes.

Sometimes it gets awfully violent. I don’t feel anything so it doesn’t matter but I still feel I should feel it. When thunder strikes it’s like a tummy rumble and everything goes darker. Yet I just wander through the world until that time has passed. I don’t have much of a preference. Even in the nighttime life is enjoyable to me.

I don’t know if other clouds are like me, but I am no different from them in any way. Maybe they think things like me as well or maybe I am the only one. I like to think we’re all the same, as it makes me feel less lonely. That’s a funny statement to say, as I cannot feel anything. But I have phantom feelings. I had to get used to it but I get used to things quickly. Even now, when I go from bigger to smaller or get swept in a storm or feel the light pass through me. It’s always different yet never-changing, this life of mine. 

I can still remember so many things from my human life and often it keeps me company. Not like I go lonely without it. I can feel my forgetting and it doesn’t strike me with fear or paranoia. I am a cloud after all. It’s like subtle entertainment. It is nice to have on in the background to my days. I forget faces except for the person I loved the most. It is not weird to me but it should be. That is a phantom feeling that hangs over me a lot. I may forget their face eventually as I have forgotten my own. My grandmother, whose name I took, her face was the first to go as well. My mother and father were harder. Then my brother, I can still see his outline occasionally. 

I can recall the recipes of the sandwiches I used to make for my work and I can recall the day I became a cloud. It was not a transition or a sudden freak out moment where I wake up from darkness and then realize I am hovering many feet above the ground. I just left behind my life and then life was this as I know it. 

I passed by my neighborhood once. My house, my school, mine mine mine. Not really mine, but I cannot break away from how I used to think. The house was built years before me and years after it will stand. I see a family there now who consider it theirs. It belongs to no one but they will not understand until they see it as I see it now, so high from up here. 

Who do I belong to? Who owns the clouds? I think it is stupid to think such a thing. Even if I find the answer, which I do not care about anyway, I will still be a cloud for all eternity. The world will not come to an end, nor for me. 

I will go over it. I think it may bring some clarity to the situation. One day, I went into the kitchen and pulled out a chair. I saw my faceless mother out in the garden. She was plucking the white lilies and red carnations from the soil. She grew them for the business, she said, they were popular. She said this with a sad smile. She tended to the earth she had taken from and stroked the soil with gratitude. Then she prepared to plant the two she had taken to fill their spots. I wished it had been so easy to replace for me. I wanted to do that but I could not and I knew I never would. I had tied the ends of my fate in the kitchen, where the pot was boiling over and the chair stood away from the table where I pulled it out. My mother was making some sort of soup and she was preparing the potatoes. I knew it was a comfort food, she had made it in my name. 

Being a cloud is exactly what it sounds like. It is being. I would rather look at the passing world than my memories as the world provides me with new footage. Even when passing over the oceans, I find it more enjoyable than looking through what I have already lived. 

It was the moment I hung myself that my life became unusual. I was expecting the struggle and instead I had simply become floatless. I did not die. I just floated and my body did not sink and choke as I intended it to but instead, like a balloon, I ascended to what I had then imagined were the heavens. 

It is hard to picture this now as I do not know her face anymore, but she stared at me through the window. She watched as I soared several feet above her head and then up and up. She had struck out her hand, covered with fertile soil, not to catch me but as if to guide me up. She was releasing me from her garden and her home with a gentle, shaking hand. And then I became what I am now and what I always will be. 

I like to imagine that when I passed by, she has glanced up above and seen me. Maybe the sunset was pretty and she snapped a photo of me and shared it with her friends. Or on her drive home, she looked up at me with a worried glance as the rain started to fall. Maybe she had flown right through my stomach in a plane, half asleep with a movie on. 

It was entirely possible she glanced at the clouds underneath the rainbow instead. And maybe their mothers, if they had mothers or were like me at all, looked up at me and wondered what shape I was. Did I look like their child? Or a horse or a dragon?

When nighttime comes, I like to sleep. I cannot really sleep but I like to shut down anything I think of. A passing thought, is all, with all of the irony. Overall, I think I am quite a funny cloud.

February 22, 2022 17:28

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Hiren Dusara
09:27 Feb 28, 2022

Thanks for a very beautifully written piece It's a nice interpretation of what happens when people die I would have liked a few more breadcrumbs related to what the clouds life might have been like which led them to end their own life but in some ways it's nice that the focus is more on the clouds current existence, I suppose I'm just curious


Sarbjeet Kaur
02:10 Mar 04, 2022

Hello Hiren, Thank you so much for your comment! I'm happy that you're curious actually. I tried adding little details that would reveal why the person had ended their life but now I know that I should've been a little clearer! Sometimes, it's hard to look at it through fresh eyes and see what needs to be changed. I will keep that in mind :)


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Amanda Lieser
17:30 Jan 23, 2023

Hello! Wow! This piece was breathtaking. I was sterling myself for the CW so I knew it had to be deeper than this kind of airy feel to the piece. I loved the way you described both the human existence and the cloud one. My favorite line was: When thunder strikes it’s like a tummy rumble and everything goes darker. Nice job!


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Colin Strivelli
14:46 Mar 04, 2022

So this was a hard read- But not in a bad way! At first I understood thr imagery, but felt it was still real nice to just get all of this interpreted from the POV of a cloud. But then the story went on into more detail, becoming more grim, and my heart sank. It is so evocative and hard to read but I found myself not able to pull away. So for the sake of your intention with this story, I would say you absolutely succeeded! I actually want to just take the main character, look at up at them and say: "You are a cloud, but not nothing. You ar...


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